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Pride. Literally, pride, self-esteem.
Although every professional soccer player has this in their heart,
Each player's approach and mindset is very different.
This season's WE ARE GAMBA OSAKA is,
Deep in the hearts of the players,
Revealing each person's pride.

The most trying experiences of his career are now a strength of his on the pitch.
Upon graduating from Nippon Sport Science University, Yamashita was exploring a career as a professional soccer player, but was heading into the 2020 season without having decided on a team.
"I had always been allowed to participate in Tokyo Verdy's training sessions, but it was difficult to secure a contract. The season had started, and training camps had begun, but the situation had not changed. At that time, the thought that I had no choice but to give up on my path to becoming a professional was extremely painful. Whenever I was alone, I would suddenly start crying, and I was at rock bottom in my life. At the time, Verdy had a trend of recruiting players who came from the same youth team, or who would return to Verdy via university, so as a product of Júbilo Iwata youth team, I did not fit in that category, and I wondered if it was impossible for me to make the team... Spending days filled with such anxiety made me lose confidence in myself, and I was holding on mentally at my limit."
I will never forget the morning of the day I was to leave for the Tokyo Verdy training camp without having signed a contract. As we had to gather at 5am, my mother was driving me to the clubhouse when she suddenly burst into tears.
"I had shown many weaknesses to my family, and to my current wife, who I had been dating since then, so I think she was worried about me for always looking gloomy. She cried and said, "It was the first time I'd seen Ryoya in such pain while playing soccer. I remember knowing that my mother was suffering with me made me feel that I had no choice but to do my best."
Perhaps it was this feeling that drew him to the team, but after the training camp, Yamashita finally managed to sign a contract with Tokyo Verdy . At that moment, he put his pride aside.
"I played soccer with confidence up until college, and believed I could become a professional. But when I found myself in that situation, I realized that I was only worth that much as a soccer player. And when I wasn't signed until the end of training camp, I realized that I would be starting from the very bottom of the professional soccer world, and I no longer needed any pride in what I had done up until then. I decided to pour everything into the one year I was given this chance and give it my all."
That sense of crisis has always been hidden in his heart. Even now, playing for Gamba, the feeling that "I'm always the lowest ranking player" makes him run and fight.
"Anyway, I'm going into every game with the intention of giving it my all, no matter what happens to me. Because that's the only way I can repay the club that signed me and the team that made me a teammate. More than anything, I'm so happy to come to Gamba, win like this, and see everyone, including the supporters, celebrate. That's why I want to play in a way that I can be proud of having made a solid contribution to Gamba's victory, and I fight every game with that responsibility in mind."
The cheers erupted every time Yamashita ran up the field at incredible speed because his determination was fully expressed in his play. Of course, the stands also erupted in excitement when he scored his first goal since transferring to the club in the 2nd Leg of the EMPEROR'S CUP against Fukushima United FC.

Text by Takamura Misa

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